If you were one risk away from altering the course of your life for the better, would you take it?
Quit your dead-end job. Finally leave that person. Move out. Buy that plane ticket. Ask that person out that you’ve been too scared to talk to. Decide to get married. Choose to have that baby. Start that business. Give it all up and live abroad.
It’s amazing how quickly the course of your life can change with just one brave choice. How something that you have been thinking about or putting off for years can change in less than 20 seconds.
Less than a week ago, I decided to move back to my hometown so I could help my nephew get into college. The decision took me less than 10 seconds to make, yet will alter my life for at least the next year, if not longer. I’m going from a guy living in sunny California in my bachelor’s pad without a care in the world to being a Pseudo-Dad in the cold suburbs of Chicago driving a kid to school. I’m still in shock, simply trying to process this decision. Perhaps, I’m even processing it through this article. It astonished me how quickly my life in one decision made over the phone.
Was it my choice? Yes. Am I happy with the decision? Yes. Am I also scared about what might happen or that I’ll regret the decision later? Absolutely!
It’s powerful to know though that we are so close to getting what we want.
I believe there is a misconception about taking risks.
We always believe the choice needs to be grandiose. I believe there are braver risks to take than just the big ones. It is the small every day choice that build up to the big leap. You don’t go from 0 to 60 without starting with putting your small toe in the water that first day. It is in the tiny wins. They are what makes you bold. We psyche ourselves out by thinking we need to take big risk to start, but that is a myth.
We attempt to change ourselves through false big risks that we hope will change everything. We buy the latest infomercial product that promises to change our lives. We purchase a book that will change how we see the world and then never read it. We pay a lot of money to go to some motivational seminar, walk over hot coals, and believe that will change everything. We leave a relationship believing we have now changed only to find ourselves in a similar one a few months later. We believe the risks are external when the major ones are internal.
The small choices are the ones that you won’t get any adulation for. No one will talk about them, including you, but they are vital. They could simply be:
- Not being mean to yourself
- Choosing to love yourself
- Deciding to focus on being grateful for what you have instead of complaining about what you wish you had
Only then, can you take the next tiny risks out in the world, such as:
- Getting out of bed
- Leaving your house
- Sending that email you’ve been putting off
- Starting a conversation with stranger knowing you might get rejected
- Picking up the phone and calling a friend for help
- Asking for a high five
These risks seem minuscule, but they open up opportunities to take bigger leaps. Being able to talk to a random stranger now may help you find the love of your life later. Sending that email may give you the bravery to send another, which may lead to your dream job. Leaving your house now may prove to you that you can leave other situations that don’t serve you anymore. Asking for a high five may prove to you that there are other people that want to have as much fun as you in this world.
We have to give ourselves credit for the risks that we do take on a regular basis, instead of simply beating ourselves up for the ones that we don’t do.
In the movie, A Star Is Born, there is a moment when Lady Gaga has a choice to walk on stage or not. That is the major risk.
There were so many smaller risks though that brought her to that moment: Getting out of bed that day. Deciding to quit her job. Getting on a plane. Walking to the back of that stage. Even vulnerably singing her original song in front of Bradley Cooper in a Grocery Store Parking Lot days before. All of that led to this moment.
So My Play Challenge To You Is This:
- Jot down all of the small risks that you have taken in the past month
- Identify what all those small risks have led you towards
- Determine what is the next risk you are willing to take that makes you both excited and nervous
The next time you feel in a rut, simply ask yourself:
What Is The Bravest Choice I Can Make Right Now?
And see where that choice takes you.
In many of my talks, I share that by choosing to allow yourself to be fully seen is not only a gift for you, but for so many that eventually meet you. To know that there is someone out there that is wanting to show up, but they can’t until they see you choosing to step into your full self. By you bravely taking a step to be your full self you are freeing others to do the same.
So, what is the next risk you are willing to take?